What would you do if you found two beautiful kittens dumped in a backstreet? Turn around and pretend you never saw? No, we didn’t think so. You’d take them in and give them a place to heal, right? Well, this is exactly what one Texas family did when they decided to welcome the little furry felines into their home. But the family’s happiness was short-lived. And after some pretty serious incidents, they soon realized that these cats weren’t quite what they seemed...
Sure, the bedding-in period for new pets can get a little tricky at times, but this was a very different situation. There was more to the kittens than met the eye. And what happened next would probably cause the family to regret their decision to welcome the cats into their home.
Yes, according to the family, the young cats appeared to have been dumped there. So of course they wanted to rescue them. Who wouldn’t? Kittens are irresistible at the best of times, but standing alone in a backstreet with no one to protect them? Face it: your heart would melt in an instant!
Like we mentioned earlier, though, the family were under the impression that these weren’t just any old cats. In fact, they were convinced that the kittens belonged to the Bengal breed. And to be honest, we don’t blame them for making that assessment. From the bright blue peepers to the mesmerizing fur markings, it all seemed to add up.
Now if you’re not in the know when it comes to cats, take it from us: Bengals are a very desirable breed. Not only do they have beautiful markings on their fur, but as the website bengalcat.co.uk makes clear, the felines are pretty smart and can form strong bonds with their owners.
Thanks to that connection, Bengal cats are unlikely to blank you at home – which can’t be said about some other breeds! In keeping with that, the website notes that the animals absolutely adore fuss. They love snuggling up to people whenever the opportunity arises. So chances are, your lap won’t be getting much rest.
Plus, Bengals have another unusual character trait when compared to their fellow felines as well. Yes, these cats are fascinated by water. So should there ever come a time if they need a good wash or bath, you won’t have to worry. If anything, they’ll be jumping into the tub themselves with little encouragement.
But it won’t just be the bathtub – showers and toilets will be tantalizing spots for Bengals too. When it comes to the latter, keep the seat down! Away from the water, though, the cats are also incredibly active during certain periods of the day. They’re runners, jumpers and climbers. If the feline Olympics existed, they’d dominate those events.
Keeping all this in mind, you can understand why the family in Texas were so keen to bring the stray kittens in. Bengals would be a welcome addition to any clan. Yet those positive feelings soon shattered once the cats made themselves comfortable in the house. As we noted before, all was not as it seemed.
That quickly became apparent when one member of the family attempted to give the hungry animals some food. To explain what happened next, a representative of the Animal Care Services agency, otherwise known as the ACS, spoke to the KENS television channel in May 2018. The ACS worker, Lisa Norwood, revealed just how badly things had gone wrong.
Norwood explained, “[A woman] tried to feed [the strays] some kitten milk. And during the process of doing that, three people were bitten. Not bad bites, but bites nonetheless. They’re seeking medical attention right now.” Ouch! Talk about a nasty surprise. Yet that wasn’t the only shock in store for the family.
Unsurprisingly, the San Antonio residents began to question if these small cats really were Bengals following the attack. So they opted to do a bit of research on the internet. From there, the clan knew that they had to contact someone to help them, with Norwood going into more detail.
“Once [the family] started taking a look at the kittens,” Norwood told KENS. “Seeing how big they were, how robust they were, how their tails were bobbed, [they started thinking], ‘You know what, these don’t look like your standard house cat. Maybe we should call somebody.’ Thankfully, they did.” What were they dealing with, then?
Well, the answer could blow your mind, so brace yourselves! As it turns out, these “Bengal kittens” were actually bobcats. And while the name might not suggest it, they’re very different to your standard pet felines. For one thing, the animals are a type of lynx. And they can grow to over three feet long.
Those aren’t the only differences, though. According to the website of National Geographic magazine, bobcats sport bushy ears, big feet, short tails and lengthy legs as well. You won’t find many domesticated cat breeds with those features. Anyway, what happened to the cubs when the family reached out for aid? Who stepped forward to help?
Well, a member of the ACS picked up the bobcats, before handing them off to Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation. This non-profit Texas organization focuses on “animal advocacy” – in other words, protecting creatures and helping them live lives unhindered by humans. The plan was to look over the young cubs, ahead of giving them the green light to be rehomed within a “protected site.”
But this story had one more twist in store. KENS noted that the clan might not have been entirely truthful about how they discovered the bobcats. You see, instead of stumbling across them in a backstreet close to Salado Creek, it’s thought that the animals were situated in Atascosa County, Texas. Plus, it had possibly been another member of the family who had picked them up.
Due to that, the San Antonio residents were potentially facing some issues regarding the “illegal disturbance of wild animals.” Who saw that coming? Anyway, the person behind Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation shared their thoughts on this tale while speaking to KENS. Her name is Lynn Cuny. She said, “The real story of these bobcats is one of tragedy, not one of ‘cute babies.’”
Cuny added, “These two infants’ lives were altered the moment they were stolen from their mother. Not only will they never know her loving care, but these bobcats now have to be raised by humans, their number-one predator. Though we trust they’ll do well, the fact is that no wild animal baby should ever have to make such a traumatic adjustment and suffer the trauma of being orphaned.” But, of course, this doesn’t mean something bad is going to happen every time a kitten changes its attitude or appearance.
When Kathryn van Beek rescued a young cat, she never would have predicted the kind of transformation that would happen. As the kitten grew, his fur became patchy and dark. Then, as van Beek watched him maturing, there was no mistaking it: his color was magically changing before her eyes. That’s when she realized the animal wasn’t quite what he seemed...
Bruce the cat has become quite the popular kitty, but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, on November 3, 2015, he was found bedraggled and nearly dead in his hometown of Auckland, New Zealand. Thankfully, though, Bruce was saved when van Beek found and rescued the tiny kitten.
As a matter of fact, Bruce was lucky that Van Beek managed to see him. There had been torrential rainfall on the day he was discovered, and the kitten was easy to miss. At first, Van Beek thought that the tiny gray creature was a mouse or a rat.
When she got closer, though, she realized that what she took for a rodent was actually a newborn kitten. “He wasn’t meowing when I found him,” Van Beek told Love Meow on January 4, 2016. “But he was crawling slowly along on his tummy.”
“[It was] as though he was trying to find his mother, poor little mite,” she recounted. Furthermore, the kitten couldn’t have been very old, as Van Beek informed News Now. “His eyes were still closed, and he still had his umbilical cord attached.”
No one seemed to know anything about the baby cat or how he had come to be orphaned. The big-hearted Van Beek couldn’t just leave the kitten there, though, so she did what any animal lover would do and took the feline home. Van Beek subsequently adopted the kitten and called him Bruce, after Batman’s orphaned alter ego, Bruce Wayne.
With Bruce now inside in the warm and dry, Van Beek began nursing him back to health. Becoming parent to a newborn of any species isn’t an easy task, but both Van Beek and her husband rose to the challenge and stuck by the kitten during his recovery.
During the first few months of Bruce’s life, he was incredibly vulnerable, and the Van Beeks had to bottle-feed their new furbaby. They were on 24-hour kitten watch, and it wasn’t long before Bruce found his voice. He wasn’t shy about letting them know when he was hungry, either.
But even under the attentive care of his new humans, Bruce’s poor health led to turbulent times. Living up to his namesake, the fragile feline survived several brushes with death. As a result of these scares, however, even Van Beek’s work colleagues became concerned for the little kitten.
On December 24, 2016, Van Beek told the NZ Herald, “I was working for Auckland Council at the time... They were really interested, so I started a Facebook page to keep everyone updated.” Despite all the challenges, though, Bruce was a survivor.
And while everyone loves an underdog (or undercat, in Bruce’s case), Van Beek didn’t expect Bruce’s popularity to soar. “At first it was a real life-and-death battle, and then I thought interest might fade,” she said. But with Bruce rapidly becoming an online star, something unusual started happening to the cute kitten.
Yes, Bruce’s light gray fur was darkening and becoming patchy. At first, the dark splashes were limited to his paws and face, but soon they started to spread. Before long, his entire body had become black, completing his transformation from Bruce Wayne to Dark Knight.
The spectacular change stunned Van Beek, and at first, the cause of the palette swap was a mystery. Regardless of the reason, though, Bruce’s magic act caused a further swell in his fan base. Suddenly, he was more popular than anyone could have predicted.
“He started turning black, so that interested people,” Van Beek informed the NZ Herald. And from there, Bruce gave the world what it wanted; soon, he had social media platforms on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. However, he didn’t stop there.
Bruce even set his sights on the literary world with a book about his life, written and illustrated by Van Beek. But the question still remains: what caused Bruce’s color change? The explanation lies with a condition called fever coat.
The unusual condition is triggered when mother cats experience upheaval during pregnancy. The disturbance might be caused by stress, or if the expectant mommy catches an infection. It can even occur if she’s accidentally given medication without prior knowledge of her pregnancy.
The resulting effect – the aforementioned fever coat – temporarily displaces the color pigment of a kitten’s fur. Essentially, the fur doesn’t know what color it is yet and takes on a light hue. It can, in fact, take up to eight months for the pigments to reassert themselves.
Anyhow, Bruce and the Van Beeks moved to Dunedin, where his exploits continue to be chronicled. Moreover, a second book, inspired by Bruce’s adventures in his new hometown, is in the works. “It’s a bit of fun really, for me,” Van Beek told News Now.
“It’s just an interesting hobby,” Van Beek added. “I think he brings his fans a bit of light relief.” All trace of fever coat has now gone from Bruce, and these days he is a beautiful black cat with sparkling green eyes. Bruce’s color-changing trick may not have been magic, but how he’s using it certainly is.
“I’d like to help other little kitties and the people who look after them,” Bruce’s website states on his behalf. “With [the public’s] help I’ve raised funds for the SPCA, and now I’m working with the Animal Rescue Network.” Bruce, then, truly is a hero.